Science & Tech

Residential segregation in metro Boston goes beyond affordability

2 min read

New research from Civil Rights Project shows it's not just about money

New research from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University shows that in a region where median home prices now exceed $400,000, affordability alone does not explain the continued patterns of racial segregation that exist in the Boston area. Research findings implicate a complex tangle of factors, including housing preferences and discrimination. “In metro Boston today, segregation is due to much more than money,” said CRP researcher Nancy McArdle, noting that well-off blacks and Hispanics are as segregated from their white counterparts with similar incomes as poor blacks and Hispanics are from poor white households. Boston is the nation’s third whitest large metropolitan area. Researchers found that African-American and Latino homebuyers were greatly overrepresented in some areas – Lawrence, Chelsea, Lynn, Everett, and Revere for Latinos; Randolph, Brockton, Boston, and Milton for African Americans – even after accounting for affordability. “The flip side is that in most places, they’re very underrepresented,” said McArdle. In 80 percent of cities and towns in metro Boston, she reported the number of black and Latino homebuyers was less than half what would be predicted based on affordability alone. Civil Rights Project co-director and Professor of Education Gary Orfield said, “The market isn’t working freely like people think.”